U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requesting the Department of Defense survey all Army, Navy and Air Force JROTC programs at private schools nationwide, probing whether the schools are owned by a subsidiary of a foreign company and, if so, the name of the foreign company subsidiary.
The letter comes from reports of U.S. private schools being owned by Chinese subsidiaries with links to the Chinese Communist Party.
Waltz’s office speculates in a press release announcing the letter that the private school acquisitions in question may be a part of the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt & Road infrastructure and global influence initiative within the American education system.
“It’s incredibly concerning that there are American private schools owned by companies with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” Waltz said. “From Florida to New York, there is clear evidence that the ownership of these schools are linked to our greatest adversary and it’s ridiculous that we are developing potential future military leaders through JROTC programs where the CCP could be shaping school curriculum and activities.”
Waltz listed the Florida Preparatory Academy in Melbourne as one example in his letter, noting that it is owned by Newopen, USA, which is a subsidiary of the Chongqing, China-based Newopen Group. The company’s chairman, Zhou Dengguang, was part of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Association, which the Chinese Communist Party sponsored. The Florida school has an Air Force JROTC program.
Another listed example includes The New York Military Academy, owned by the Research Center on National Conservation and backed by a Chinese-based Fang Holdings LTD. Fang’s former CEO and current largest shareholder is Mo Tianquan, a delegate to the 2013 session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory body convened by the Chinese Communist Party. That school has an Army JROTC program.
“With the ongoing military recruitment crisis, I am concerned that any students we recruit into the service from these CCP-influenced schools will have a sympathetic view of China’s political and strategic aims,” Waltz wrote.
Waltz requested that information obtained “be compiled and sent” to his office as soon as possible, “in preparation for the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act.”